January 23, 2021

Changemaker or Crazymaker?

Changemaker or Crazymaker?

My 3 kids are all at home every day at the moment and that means it’s really hard to get through the day and feel like we’re winning.  One needs quiet to work, another needs company. One needs to move their body often, another is barely vertical at all. We all have to make decisions about what to wear, eat and drink perhaps not more than usual but in very different situations.  One has a timetable that is mapped out all day and the other is partially mapped out and so needs help with the rest.  It’s teaching us a lot about how we all work differently, have different needs and is also stretching our capacity to manage change.

I’m quite comfortable with meaningful change, I am flexible and can adapt quickly when I need to. As a family, we’ve had some pretty big life events that demanded we adapt to change. I adapted rapidly when my In-Laws came to live with us for a wee while and then again when it looked like it was going to be for longer than we originally anticipated. My passion for helping others often results in me taking action quickly and sometimes I needed reminding that others weren’t quite so ready for the changes we all were going to have to make. I reorganised the house, changed some of our routines and basically turned everything upside down in order to make our home ready for them.  Of course, what I didn’t anticipate was that nobody else was quite so ready to embrace the change as I was.  Emotionally we were all on board but the practicalities of it, not so much.  There was a period of quiet fizzing about things not being where they were before, food being different, and adapting to how differently we were all required to be to make it work.  Relationship dynamics changed and we were all trying hard but struggling to be nice to each other.  This story had a sad ending with the end of life event of Dad-in-Law, we did our best to mark his passing as he had instructed but circumstances meant, it fell very short of expectations.  For me, his legacy was that through tough challenges and disruptions, we as a family could, as Glennon Doyle writes, “do hard things”. We also learned which of us were the Changemakers and the Crazymakers, and we had no idea how useful this knowledge would become.

Take my youngest child. He’s brilliantly clever, a real cheeky chappie and he hates change.  It throws him into despair and he just can’t cope.  And it’s not all because he’s a child either. He’s got real fire in his belly (also known as a quick temper) which he gets from me but his complete resistance to change, well you can work out where that came from! So sometimes I can totally understand where he’s coming from and then its like he’s a different species. We’ve worked hard to help him adapt but it’s fair to say, we have a lot still to learn.  More accurately, I do. 

For people like my son, where facing change, is a crazymaking event, there is a strong defensive response, they slow down, question every tiny detail and debate or negotiate relentlessly in order to avoid it.  They come across as stubborn or selfish and can be quite challenging to deal with.  It’s taken some pretty messy failed attempts to work out what is happening when a crazymaking event happens in our family and I can’t say we’ve got it all sorted but we’re definitely making progress.

Living in such an intensely intimate way with our families has not been normal in our culture for many generations. So it’s not surprising that we struggle with it.  Add into the mix the need to mix home life with work life and there’s a crazy making cocktail that no one wants to get drunk on. Even those who have been used to having supportive family nearby, are having to adapt to different ways of living and working.

If there is one lesson we’d do well to learn this year, it’s the lesson of learning what change looks and feels like for ourselves and for those around us.  Just knowing that your business partner is a Changemaker and that it triggers the Crazymaker in you will help massively in coming up with strategies for how your can make change work for both of you.

Accepting that you are a Changemaker and acknowledging the need for you to slow down so that you can help others accept change, will help you to avoid significant conflict and further stalling the process of change. 

Adopting an open mindset that also allows more time to reflect and explore the nature of the change and whether it’s necessary or acceptable, will increase your ability to adapt to it.

But it’s not easy so be kind to yourself, even Changemakers get a little crazy sometimes too!

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